Monday, February 4, 2013

The Wizard

Magicians and kings desire power:
To sit on the Emerald Throne, and speak
words which, on speaking, become a truth.
We deal in illusion:
Ruling is the art of making believe.
Screens in the corner,
fields of poppies,
streets paved with gold:
these are the spectacles
that hold back the deserts.
The scarecrow becomes king.

On losing a pet


Last year, my son (who was 9) lost his pet kitten. At first I told him that I was sure she would be back soon, but after a couple weeks had passed, I was less sure.  He was very anxious about her, and mentioned her at least a couple of times a day. I was looking for something to say that would console him, or at least ease his mind a little.  I did come up with something, finally, that made him feel much less worried, and I thought I would post it here in case anyone reading this finds themselves in a similar situation someday.

Listen. Most cats are happy to live in a house, with people to provide them food, and a warm place to sleep every day, and to pet them and play with them.  That's all they want out of life.  But a few cats are different. A few cats are a little bit sharper, a little bit faster than the average. They have more life in them, more of what makes a cat a cat. They are like Sir Francis Drake, or the Marco Polo of Cats. They need adventure, to explore, to find out everything they can about the world. I think your kitten might have been one of these.
She set out one day, chasing a bird, and found herself far from home, and one part of her wanted to go back, wanted to be with you and her friend cats, but another part was saying, go a little farther.  Who knows what could be out there? There could be lost tombs of ancient cat civilizations.  There could be a vast buried treasure of golden feathers tied on ribbons to sticks. Who knows? Go a little farther.  And so she decided to go and see what there was to see.
I saw her one day, a few days after she got out of the house. She was alert and bright-eyed, her ears perked up and her legs tensed to pounce.  And suddenly, she started running.  I've never seen a cat move so fast.  She took great bounding steps, like a cheetah, each one farther than the last until it seemed like she was flying.
She's going to be all right.